The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

~ H. P. Lovecraft

I’m sure you rang in the New Year in a rather ordinary way.

Maybe you attended a massive shindig, complete with dancing, merriment and those annoying noise makers that sound like strangled ducks. Perhaps you hosted a modest get-together for a few close friends, popped the cork off a cheap bottle of champagne, and raised a glass to the aging and mumbling Dick Clark as the big ball dropped. It’s possible you snuggled with a loved one on the couch and watched your favorite old movie, leaning over to steal a kiss at 12:04am because you missed the time. Or, either lacking or not desiring these options, you slipped into January 2009 alone, lost in contemplation, or a good book.

Of course there are myriad variations on this theme. But it doesn’t matter how imaginatively you shake and stir the elements; in the end you’re sipping something very . . . well, as I said, ordinary.

You are boring. You have no sense of adventure. No appreciation for the rush that comes from shear, unimaginable terror.

No, I’m not talking about the guy who did that staged and overhyped NYE motorcycle stunt in Vegas. That guy!? Loser! Nor, in a broader sense, am I talking about Hollywood Slasher flicks, with their one-dimensional villains, ham-fisted soundtracks, predictable shrieking and corn syrup gore.

I’m talking about madness from the Other Worlds running rampant* in the streets. In a sleepy little town in Massachusetts, where behind every Uptown, Southside and French Hill corner, death lays waiting to steal your soul. Through yawning gates in graveyards and abandoned woods they come – hideous Elder Things, seductive Goat Spawns, and oozing Flying Polyps – ushering Earth toward a rendezvous with an Ancient One. It might be the scaly Yig, the Father of Serpents, the mysterious Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, or the mother of madness herself, the Dread Cthulhu, who would surely devour me in less than a heartbeat for calling her a woman.

Regardless of who, or what, comes out of the gates, all of mankind is FUBAR.

Yes, dear Tweaker, while you were busy being normal, reveling and oblivious, I and six other brave comrades gathered at the lair of the Boomcoach and, as is our yearly custom, rang in the New Year battling evil with dice, our imagination, cheese balls, and a never-ending fount of Mountain Dew. This year, we banished the birth of horror in Arkham, circa 1926, with our Tommy guns a-blazing and the mystical incantations of the Book of Dzyan upon our lips.

And it only took us six hours. That’s how we roll.

You can thank us later . . .

* Once we finished saving your sorry and ungrateful asses, we gathered at the Silver Twilight Lodge for a heady round of Three Philosophers and some Trivial Pursuit, where this now-humbled investigator learned that, in addition to meaning “occurring without restraint and frequently, widely, or menacingly,” rampant also means “to rear on the hind legs.” That was embarrassing . . .

[photo credit]

13 thoughts on “The Horror!

  1. You’re funny. I feel much safer now knowing you and your comrades have this “yearly custom”. I’ll thank you now. Thank you.

    Happy new year to you, your family, and your comrades!

  2. My ass is extremely grateful. Thank you. As for rampant meaning to rear on hind legs, it’s how the animals are always described in herealdry.

    “Sir Lancelot’s shield featured a unicorn rampant on the lap of virgin.” –sorta like that.

  3. Yeah. Rampant is now a very cool word.

    The word was used in a question about the lion that is rampant on many European standards. And, as if rampant isn’t enough, there are several other attitudes, or positions, a lion can take. They can be . . .

    passant – walking, with the right fore paw raised

    statant – standing, all four feet on the ground; this posture is more frequent in crests than in shields

    sejant – sitting on his haunches, forepaws on the ground

    sejant erect – the same, but with forepaws in “rampant” position

    salient – leaping, with hind legs together and forelegs together

    couchant – lying down, head raised; rarely used

    courant – running, body elongated, head erect, all four legs extended

    dormant – lying down, head lowered; even more rarely used, partly because most of the distinctive details of the lion’s outline are obscured

    Of course, none of these should be confused with segreant, which denotes the same position, but is only used in reference to griffins and dragons.

    God, I just get smarter every day . . .

  4. Now when you said you were playing Arkham Horror, I immediately thought of the Gotham City Asylum. But it’s HP Lovecraft? That’s way better.

  5. Yeah, Arkham Asylum in the Gotham mythos is an homage to Lovecraft. Very cool.

    And Corina, I am so NOT that smart. I lost the Trivial Pursuit game, unfortunately. But I did have three little pie pieces, so I was on my way . . .

  6. I would thank you for saving my ass with a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit but I’m afraid then I would kick YOUR ass and you would just be sad and it wouldn’t be much of a thank you. I RAWK at Trivial Pursuit. Don’t test me.

  7. I’m so glad you took care of saving the humans. We saved the horses with Horsopoly. From there we had a good old fashioned Family Feud.

  8. First of all…GREAT use of 3 Philosophers.
    We do need to get together some time.
    I had take a predictive index test for a job several years ago. Apparently, i am overwhelmingly “competitive.” So…your celebration sounds right up my alley.
    Also, I have felt this weight on my shoulders as of late…the weight of mankind being “fubar” as you put it. I feel like I understand it at time, but can’t communicate this vague understanding of it. Kind of like the balance between knowing and not knowing you talked about in a later post.
    Anyway, while I had a blast at the little hole in the wall bar where I spent New Years (my wife’s birthday…that was the real celebration), I felt like everything is wrong as watched the drunken behavior of those around me. Actually, it wasn’t their behaviour…it was that they all used an annual celebration not for it’s intended purpose, but as an excuse for inebriation and unbridled infidelity. I too am not a prude. But something was wrong.
    Trivial pursuit sounds fantastic.

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